America’s Opioid Epidemic
How this started
During the 1990s, major pharmaceutical companies began falsely advertising the safety of opioid pain relievers, stating these medications carried a low risk of addiction when, in reality, that was far from the truth. This predatory advertising, along with improper regulatory oversight, allowed Big Pharma’s unprecedented opioid sales to evolve into our Opioid Epidemic.
Who’s been affected
This epidemic has spared no one. Major pharmaceutical companies, such as Purdue Pharma, have been accused of targeting America’s most vulnerable populations. For instance, many veterans who unfortunately suffer from PTSD, chronic pain, and other physical ailments were prescribed opiates for pain management. This not only resulted in widespread opioid addiction amongst veterans, but also contributed to American veterans becoming homeless and even to the dramatic rise in opioid overdose deaths among American veterans.
The elderly have also been harmed by this health crisis, with many grandparents dealing with the financial ramifications of having to cover treatment programs for their adult children, not to mention having to take financial and physical care of their parentless grandchildren. Sadly, there are seniors who may be addicted to opioids and are using savings to purchase more opioids or to pay for the necessary treatment to manage, and eventually overcome their addiction.
Moreover, women and children have experienced the negative repercussions of the opioid epidemic. According to the National Institutes of Health, opioid misuse before and during pregnancy can raise the risk of health consequences for both women and children. Those risks include newborns having difficulty eating and sleeping, infants having cognitive developmental problems, and mothers having lifelong chronic pain. Furthermore, maternal opioid misuse can even lead to babies themselves being born with opioid dependencies, thus creating a familial cycle of addiction.
What’s being done
In a joint effort to combat this health crisis, several states are filing lawsuits against major pharmaceutical companies who have been behind the negligent proliferation of opioid addiction, including 48 states who are currently suing Purdue Pharma, the makers of the opioid painkiller OxyContin. Other companies such as Johnson & Johnson are also being investigated for their role in the opioid epidemic, with many more class action lawsuits underway.
How we can help
Experts estimate the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse in the United States is around $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. We, Oppenheim Law, recognize the emotional burden battling addiction has on families which is why our firm is committed to ensuring that our clients have the best team of professionals to represent them.
With Florida’s opioid sales per capita currently above the national average, this epidemic is affecting people in our own community. If you or a loved one has been affected by opioid usage, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Please feel free to contact us at (954) 384-6114 so we can inform you of your legal rights so you can obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.
From the Trenches,